I recently took possession of a large collection of trading cards and sports memorabilia after cleaning out my childhood home for my elderly parents.
My father and I were avid collectors in the late 80s and early 90s, but it's been 30 years since I've actively engaged with the hobby. There are parts of the collection I'd never sell, like the Giants stuff, but as I take inventory of everything, I'd like to also appraise it if I can. So I'm dipping a toe back in.
Back in the day, Beckett was the industry-standard pricing guide for trading cards, but that was pre-internet. Beckett still exists and has modernized its operation, I see, but is a subscription to their site/app ($129.99/yr) more useful to me than, say, rough calculations of average ebay prices?
Re: authentication and/or grading service companies, which are the most reputable? There's a bunch of autographed items in the collection that will need to be authenticated and some cards that would benefit from grading, but I am somewhat concerned about what that might cost me.
Going through all of this stuff is bringing back memories of being an idiot teenager and getting to meet so many New York Giants legends. Good times.
I'd appreciate whatever guidance you can offer.
For authenticating autos PSA is the place to go. Grading you have options between PSA, BGS, SCG as well as others with PSA being the most popular and best on return. It all depends on what cards you got and the condition, centering and corners.
Link - ( New Window )
CSG is pretty decent alternative and part of a larger company that grades comics, coins, etc.
PSA and JSA for autograph authentication services
Fanatics is really starting to get involved in all things memorabilia as well
It was fun when I was young, then it became difficult as I got older. I put everythign in plastic totes and kept them thinking I'd give them to my kids one day.
ebay is better for comps than comc IMO. Often comc will have listings on ebay.
You can search for a card on ebay and change your filter to "sold" and see what recent sales are like for the same card.
Condition matters. A lot (for value). and what you might think is good condition may not be to the graders. And good actually is a measure for condition and it's not good (Gem mint is the best).
most 80's/90's cards (from what is known as the "junk wax" era due to mass overproduction) are not worth much.
exceptions are the stars, and very specific cards of the stars (Michael Jordan fleer rookie, Ken Griffey Jr upper deck, Gretzky Topps or OPC rookie, cards like that) - just to set your expectations
post some pictures, I'm pretty much an expert in this and can tell you what you have - knowing what you have is important if you plan to sell. for the record, I have never sold a card. I just always collected.
When I was little, however, I orchestrated some of the worst trades in history for example: in 1986 I traded a Wayne Gretzky rookie card for rookies of Don Mattingly and Darryl Strawberry. At the time it was fair, now, not so much lol. The Gretzky card is worth thousands (in good condition), the others maybe $10-$25 in good condition.
I agree with this, and many buy it now listings are ridiculously priced, but to your point about items being worth what someone will pay - if you search for the card on ebay and then click the filter to "Sold" auctions you see exactly what you are suggesting - you see exactly what people have in fact paid for the card and you can even see trends - for example Brock Purdy cards spiked this year but you couldn't give them away 9 months ago. Equating condition isn't easy, but at least you have a guide and this would show both buy it now and auctions.